Wednesday, April 23
Tuesday, April 22
There are things we didn't know going into this workshop, and I feel more on top of these things now that we know.
The Benefits of Using a separate account/debit card for Vacations:
- You can open a separate account specifically for a vacation, and only take the debit card for that account with you. This is a secure way of knowing that (1. If your wallet or purse gets lost or stolen, no one will be able to get to your main account, and 2. You will be able to stay within your budget better, by only having to keep track of your vacation funds, and not everything else your main account holds. )
The Benefits of Using a separate account/debit card for (EFT) Electronic Fund Transfers.
- You can open a separate account specifically for EFT withdrawals. If you want to make monthly payments to your credit card company, or to another lender using EFT, you are placing all your trust with that lender that they will (1. Take out only the amount you specified; 2. They will take it out on the day you specified; and 3. If you don't have the exact funds to cover it on the exact day on a following month, and call to change the date, they cannot have access to all your other money that is allotted to other bills.)
Create an Emergency Fund:
- The older members of the family should have an emergency fund. Keep in a savings account $1,000 per adult person; and $300-$500 per high school student. Children under high school age should not need an emergency fund.
Teaching Children to be Financially Responsible:
- Teach your children to give at least 10% of what they earn or receive as a gift.
- Teach you children to save at least 50% of what they earn or receive as a gift.
- Let them spend 40% of what they earn or receive as a gift.
The earlier you can start this routine with your children the better. It is much harder for me to convince my 15 year old that he should save 50%, and give 10% of his money, than it is with my 6 and 4 year olds. With them, we usually have them save all their money, and get money out of their piggy banks to give, when they ask. We usually hand money to them for offering at church. I had originally thought that this was a good idea, until the speaker at the conference made these very good points:
- He said that it is important for children to give of their own money (even a few pennies) so they can reap the rewarding feeling of giving. They feel nothing, if money is given to them to put in a plate or pouch that is passed.
- He also said that it is important for children to learn to save for something. He said to start out by having them save for something small, like a toy. Something that won't take very long to save for. Next, have the child pick a somewhat larger item to save for, and then larger, and so on. Telling a 3 year old that they are saving their money for college, makes no sense to them, and therefore means nothing to them. The same with a car. Having a small child save their money for a car is just as ridiculous. The time seems insurmountable, and therefore provides little relevance when it comes to teaching to save.
Chores and Allowance
First of all, he said not to call the money that a child earns for doing chores, allowance. He said to call it commission. When we call it allowance, we are conveying the message that we are allowing them to receive money for work that is done. Commission is based on extra work that is done above and beyond what is expected by living in the home. Children should not be paid to clean their room, put away their clothes or toys, make their bed, set the table, etc... These should be done for free because they live there, and are part of the family. Commission should be paid for things like mowing the lawn, picking up sticks out of the yard, raking the yard, helping mom clean, etc... These things should not be listed on a regular chore list, and should be paid at the time the child completes the task. It is the parents job to think of opportunities in which they can provide work for commission, for their children. A rule of thumb... rate their commission upon how old they are. Approx. $1 for every year of the child is recommended. However, don't feel slighted to pay less if the child only does part of the job, or if your income doesn't allow you to pay that much. Explain to your children ahead of time, that you are a family, and your income does not allow you to pay them as much as they might want to receive. Explain to your children if you are in a financial hardship, and therefore won't be getting as much in commission for that time being. Your child will understand, as well as, teach them valuable lessons for the future.
Some Information for High Schoolers/and Adults...
- Look on-line for scholarships, before entering college. There are millions of dollars in scholarship money that goes unused every year, so apply, apply, apply! There is a scholarship for just about anything.
- Don't ever get a student loan. Work your way through college, and put most of your money toward your college tuition. Or find a job that will pay your way through college. UPS pays 100% for their employees to go to college. Many other places do too.
- Don't ever go to an ATM machine. More debt problems arise each year because of ATM usage. People forget to write things down, and are apt to be more impulsive.
- Don't use credit cards! Just about anything can be done with a debit card these days. It's more secure, and it's a way to keep you from getting out-of-control with your spending.
Thanks for reading, and bearing through all the boring stuff. I thought it was valuable information that I didn't know, and felt that I should share. God Bless!
Monday, April 21
Okay, back to the conference. This workshop was definitely the most helpful to me, because I am lacking in knowledge the most in this area. I realize, by posting this on my blog, that homeschoolers from different states may read this, and therefore I must state ahead of time that Illinois (my state) is one of the easiest states to homeschool in, because there are so few requirements. So I advise that you check with your state requirements first, and do what they say, as apposed to what we are able to do in Illinois. What I will be listing below should apply to most any state, if you are able to design your own curriculum.
The first thing that I had to understand was that transcripts are only required for 9th-12th grade. These are not physically required by law, but if you have any hopes of your child entering college in the future, this is a must.
Creating transcripts for your child is fairly easy, and can be done on your home computer. During the high school years, a total of 150-170 credit hours of study should be listed on your child's transcripts. Listing the standard classes for 9th-12th grade with corresponding credit hours are as follows:
- English (Comp., Lit., Dictation, etc.) = 3 credit hours per 1/2 year, or a total of 24 credit hours over the course of 4 years;
- Math (Some algebra/geometry are standard, calculus and trigonometry are optional.) = 3 cr/hrs per 1/2 year, or 24 over 4 years;
- History (Some form of World, American, American Government, and Geography are standard, with US Constitution being required 9th grade year) = 3 cr/hrs per 1/2 year, or 24 over 4 years.
- Science (some form of physics, biology, or geology studies are standard, plus 2 lab credits per year) = 3 cr/hrs per 1/2 year or 30 over 4 years;
- Foreign Language (Spanish, French, Latin, German, Sign (yes, sign language is considered a foreign language), or any other language your child wants to learn.)= 2 cr/hrs per 1/2 year. A minimum of 2 years is required for most colleges, 3 for most universities. So, over 3 years, a total of 16 credits;
- Fine Arts (Music, Art, Drama...I also add Speech and Debate, in these categories)= 1 cr/hr a piece per 1/2 year. For a possibility of 8 cr/hrs per item for 4 years;
- PE (standard PE classes, sports or fun physical exercise your child is interested in)= 1-2 cr/hrs per year, or 4-8 over 4 years;
- Electives (any course of interest or study)= 2 cr/hrs per 1/2 year; or 4 per year.
- An additional 24-28 credits may be given for other student interests or a job the child has.
- Unit studies can be counted as 1/2 credit per unit study.
Please be aware that this is only one example of how you can make your child's schedule for 9th-12th grade. If you want to improvise this to keep you on track with your younger children's schedule, you may do that as well. I like to keep a record of each of my children's progress, so I am able to see where we have come from, and where we still need to go. I also like to keep quarterly reports on how my children are progressing. I do not give report cards, or letter grades. I simply list goals that I have for my children, and when they meet each goal, I mark it as met.
Next year, I will be using letter grades for my oldest son, because he will need a GPA for his HS transcripts. What I wondered entering the workshop was how to fairly calculate a letter grade for a child's work: This is how I understood it. An "A" is given only when a child has given his "best" work; A "B" is given when a child has given "a lot of effort" to his work; A "C" is given when a child has done a "satisfactory" amount of work; A "D" is given if "very little" effort was shown; and an "F" is only given when a child flat out refuses to give any effort at all.
Creating a Transcript
Transcripts come in many different forms, and if we took a look at our own high school transcript we might be surprised to find what it actually looks like. It is held to sacred standards by many a high school, and dues must be paid to even receive a copy of the document. Most are typed on a small piece of paper, and some have hand written scribbles all over it. Some (most sacred) document, to be sure. So, don't feel threatened to attempt to create a transcript. With the modern technology we have today, making a transcript is fairly easy. The basic transcript must include these things:
- Birth date
- S.S. #
- Listed Courses of study.
- Record of grades for each class.
That's basically it. You can make it as pretty or plain as you want to. There's really not too much to worry about, because most colleges are used to the growing number of homeschooled children applying these days, and most use their ACT or SAT scores for enrollment anyway.
HS diplomas may be created on your own computer, or they can be ordered on-line through many different homeschool websites.
The instructors also advised that when the child enters their senior year of high school that they be permitted to take a few classes at a junior college. This will help adjust them to a classroom setting, and to having other people in the classroom with them. It will also help them slowly adjust to the college routine.
One of the great things about homeschooling is that there is such a broad range of subjects that a child can sink their teeth into. For example:
- Household chores can be listed as Home EC.
- Babysitting can be listed as Child Development.
- Bike Riding can be listed as PE.
- Washing Dishes and putting the food away, can be listed as Food Safety and Sanitation.
- Cooking, can be listed as Food Preparation.
You get the picture. It's pretty hard not to find something your child is doing during a given day, and not make a learning experience out of it.
A Couple of Additional Things
When mailing transcripts to colleges, make sure you include a copy of the child's SAT/ACT scores, which ever one the college he is applying for requests, and a FAFSA form, or financial aid form. It just makes the process go smoother and faster, if that is sent also.
Driver's Ed - Some high school's will permit homeschooled children to take Driver's Ed along with the other students, most will not. You can sign your child up for private lessons, which is what most people do, or there are some homeschool Driver's Ed courses you can purchase as well. I recently saw one advertised in a homeschool magazine I subscribe to.
Lastly, I forgot to mention this. On the bottom of the child's transcripts or on the college application make sure you list any organizations, employment, volunteer service, and awards, the child has been involved with or has received. A lot of colleges look at this section, so it is important to add.
I guess that's about it. I hope I was able to give you some options. I will try to continue tomorrow.
Friday, April 18
2. Children WANT to do what they THINK THEY CAN do. (Something has to be relevant in order for them to want to learn it.)
3. Children HATE to do what they THINK THEY CANNOT do. ( A repeated failure experience will make them think they cannot do it.)
1. Intrinsic Relevancy - These are things of interest that are instinctive, or they are born with. This pertains to such things in boys, as weaponry. Even if you keep your boy from playing with guns and knives, eventually they will find a way to make one out of something. This I have found to be true with my boys. I find them making guns and swords out of math blocks all the time. No one showed them how, it was just instinctive. Anyway, this is why unit studies are good for boys.
Thursday, April 17
The Difficult Child - Most families have at least one child that butts the system, wants to do things their way, acts up at inappropriate times, and is disagreeable. We can easily think of that one child, and all the things they have done, popping into our heads right this minute. Ugggghhhh!!! We think, how do I fix this?
First of all, I must add, that my difficult child was with me during this workshop. He was not at all happy to be there. The day had been a bit boring for him, and he was sick of sitting through workshops with mom. However, he did enjoy shopping for homeschool supplies, and going to lunch. So, when we got to this workshop, he sat leaning against the wall, and totally disassociating himself from the group of 50+ people in the room. There were other teenagers in the room, that pretty much looked the same as he. I thought to myself, that he must feel that this workshop will be a bash session about the difficult child. He was surprised to find that it was not. By the end of the workshop, he was sitting by me, leaning his head on me, and laughing with the speaker. What a transformation, right? Well, this is what she said:
DEALING WITH THE DIFFICULT CHILD - Speaker, Kathie Morrissey
How To Handle Them:
Proverbs 22:6 says to train up a child in the way HE should go. Not the way his brother should go, but the way HE individually should be trained according to HIS own personality.
It's hard not to compare sibling to sibling, from time to time. I know I am guilty of this. Why can't you act more like your brother? Who hasn't said that, or even thought that occasionally?
List your goals for parenting. Are your goals for them not to embarrass you in public, or are they to "train" the child? Child training should be motivated by God. Building faith, virtue, and character, before academics.
Don't push away from the child. It is easy to separate ourselves from the difficult child. We are angry, and just want to be away from them. Sometimes we tell them to just go away. Go to your room, leave the table, etc... During these situations it may seem easiest to remove the child from the situation. To shut ourselves off from this child, and move on without them. This will make the child feel unloved, and forgotten. It is important to talk to the child when you see his "attitude" starting to show it's ugly head. Force yourself to remain calm, and they will calm down, possibly stopping the behavior before it really starts. Remember to love your child. It's hard sometimes to remember to love your difficult child, especially when they have just put you through the spin cycle. Really love them, and not because you feel guilty for something you think you may have done, but because you do. Ask yourself, if you curse or bless your children with your words. Always try to respond with kindness. Don't dwell on thoughts of anger about the child. Focus on their positive attributes they bring to the family. Let your difficult child know that you are praying for him.
It is very important to remember to speak calming and with kindness to your difficult child. Difficult children tend to put up walls to protect themselves from hurt. The difficult child feels misunderstood most of the time, and doesn't easily express their feelings well. This does not mean however that they don't have feelings. In fact, the difficult child may be the most sensitive of all your children. It is important to remember that.
Difficult children tend to need a schedule or routine. They desperately need structure to keep them on task. Chaos causes chaos. Have you ever noticed that when your home is in disarray, or your schedule is in disarray, that that is when your difficult child most often acts up? Difficult children need the same routine every day. Difficult children do not like change or surprises. They find comfort in things staying the same. It is our job as a parent to be consistent, and help them to be as comfortable as possible.
Give them lots of praise and encouragement even over little things. It's important to recognize that most of all the difficult child needs praise and encouragement. They are the child that is usually being yelled at, and ridiculed for their actions. One great point that she made was to say 10 great things about your difficult child, before saying a negative. Sometimes you have to count all ten things, but just as in your checkbook, you always want a positive balance going. So if you deposit 10 encouraging things into your child, and withdraw 1 negative thing, the positive balance remains strong. If you are constantly withdrawing, with no deposits, your child will be overdrawn, and so will you.
Teach them to be responsible for their own actions. This means that we should also take the blame when we show our "unattractive" side to our children as well. I know I have been guilty of this. So many times I have apologized for yelling at the kids, and then retracted it by stating that I wouldn't have yelled if they would have listened in the first place. It is important to remember that unless we take the blame for our actions, that they will be less likely to take the blame for theirs. When seeking help in taking responsibility for our actions, always seek answers from the Bible. Ask your child to look with you and see what God says about such action. Always point them to scripture. "God says this is right." "This is why we can't do this."
Remember these 3 great points about your difficult child:
1. Children who demand a lot of time are ones that "give back" much.
2. Challenging children help to provide much-needed exposure of sinful attitudes in the parents' hearts.
3. The time that seems to be taken away from the other children may actually be an investment in their lives!
More about the difficult child can be found at the speaker's website: http://www.courtshipconnection.com/
Suggested resources to help you deal with your difficult child:
Character Building for Families - Lee Ann Rubsam
Character Prayers - Tom Bishop
Child Training Tips - Reb Bradley
Praying Down the Path of Your Child's Life - Tom Bishop
Proverbs for Parenting - Barbara Decker (This resource is great! I didn't know that there was a Proverb for just about any sin. Best of all, it tells what God's answer is to the sin.)
Good and Angry - Exchanging Frustration for Character - Scott Turansky, Joanne Miller
Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in you and Your kids! Scott Turansky, Joanne Miller
The Young Peacemaker - Corlotte Sande
DVDs/CDs - by Dr. SM Davis
How to Bless your Children
3 Key Elements of Successful Parenting
How to Parent as a Team
Wednesday, April 16
The topic was family unity. The class was led by Ray and Donna Reish, and I thought they had some great points to make.
The first point they made, that really hit home, was that creating family unity consists of more than just daily prayer time and family nights. It means that each member of the family loves one another above all other relationships. Also, that the bond of love in the home is so strong, that no one even feels that they have to go outside the family unit to look for love. I thought that this was a very important point, pertaining mostly to teens, but can pertain also to younger family members and their peers, or to adults as well.
John 13:14 says to wash one another's feet as a sign of humility. This means in our day, doing "lesser" tasks for each other.
John 13:34 says love one another as I have loved you. This means, loving like Christ did. WWJD?
I Corinthians 11:33 says when we come together to eat, wait on one another, defer to one another, yielding rights to things and ownership.
Galatians 5:13 says don't use liberty as occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. Service to family qualifies you for other service. This I thought, made a great point. In other words, do what needs to be done for the family before you go out and take care of other people's needs. This was a tough one for me to swallow, as I tend to put family on the back burner, when I have a friend in need, or the church wants me to do something. But, at what sacrifice? Is it doing my family any good to have to live in chaos while I am outside the house volunteering? No, it's not. First things first. So, if one of your children has promised the neighbor that he would mow their lawn, but hasn't done his chores. The child should take care of his business at home first, and then mow the neighbor's lawn.
Galatians 5:26 says "let us not be conceited, provoking one another." In other words, don't make jokes at others' expense.
Galatians 6:2 says "Bear one another's burdens and fulfill the law of Christ." In other words help others with chores, whether it is mom or dad, or another sibling.
Phil. 2:3 says "Let each esteem others better than ourselves." They should ask themselves this question: How have I put sibling above myself? In other words, be kindly affectionate to one another.
When we look at fairness in respect of the family, we must look at each child individually. An older child is more capable of doing more work than a younger child. If there is question of a reward, or allowance given, the same amount of money may be given for different amounts of work, based on their age and ability. This may also hold true with privilege as well. Different privileges for different ages and abilities.
We must also realize that we are on the same team as our spouse. We both want the same things for our family. When spouses work against each other, it causes disunity. God hates disunity! Children recognize disunity and can use it to their advantage. Don't let your child try to divide you. There are really few reasons to spank a child, but if your child tries to do this, then spank them. They need to know that this behavior will not be tolerated. If nothing is done to correct this behavior, the child will end up hating one of you, and loving the other, causing disunity.
Society's outlook on fairness is that everyone should be treated the same. This is an impossibility, because we are all individually unique. People are not robots.
Another mistake that society has put on families, is condoning the "child controlled" home. Because of the fairness issue, laws have been put forth for the extreme, but have effected the majority. Parents are now afraid to discipline their children, and are afraid to say "no!" Child controlled homes never work, because ultimately disunity will prevail. The child grows up thinking that he is in control of the household, does what he wants, and ends up in jail. Worse yet, dead.
Children need to be taught from a very early age to yield rights to others. The beginning of family unity is learning to put others before self.
Another mistake that many families have made is putting an unhealthy focus on one child's skills, strengths, or activities. By focusing on the talented child, the other children start to feel neglected, and unimportant. Importance should be put on each of the children, without extra attention paid to the one with more talent. This also goes without saying, that spending too much time on one child's activities, can and will cause disunity. The other child is left sitting at ballgames, bored, and feeling left out. A child should also not be praised for things they have no control over, such as looks. It is cruel to favor one child for their beauty over another. God made us each individually, beautiful in his eyes, not the worlds.
BUILDING FAMILY UNITY
Teach selflessness from the very beginning. If your children are older, start now. Help them think of other family members first. Doing things for each other on a regular basis. Not for reward or allowance, but because you love each other.
Set aside time to talk to your children about each other. Ask your children how their relationship is with "said" family member. Ask them how they think they can make their relationship better.
Make sure they realize that their siblings are their very best friends. That they will be friends forever. That they will always be able to count on one another.
Make sure you verbally affirm your love for each child. Tell them why they are important to you and the family. Written affirmation is also important because when the child is feeling down, they can read it again, and the thought will be reaffirmed.
Encourage activities that can be done together. Encourage them to play together, and work out their own differences together. If you have a child who is consistently tattling, encourage him to go to his sibling first, and then if that doesn't work to come and get you.
Lastly, make a big deal about celebrating special days with your children. This creates memories that will last a lifetime. When times are hard, they have those good times to look back upon.
Hope you enjoyed my notes. I will post another tomorrow.
Monday, April 14
This past weekend my dh and I attended our first homeschool convention in Peoria. It was such a wonderful experience, and we really did learn more than we could have ever imagined.If you are considering homeschooling, or are homeschooling right now, I recommend that you attend a homeschool convention in your area. You will be surrounded with people just like you, who want more than anything, to give their child a love for learning, and the best education possible.
I would like to share some of the information that I learned at the conference with you, and hopefully help you along the homeschooling way. Starting tomorrow, I will begin to post notes from one of the workshops we attended. Each consecutive day, I will post another.
Here is a list of the workshops dh and I attended:
1. Family Unity (Tuesday's Post)
2. Dealing With The Difficult Child (Wednesday's Post)
3. Teaching Boys and Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day (Thurs. Post)
4. Patterns For Planning and Paperwork (Friday's Post)
5. I Wish I had Known This When I Was A Kid (Saturday's Post)
I hope you will enjoy reading these, as I have learned more from these 5 workshops than I could have ever imagined.
God Bless AND Have A Great Day!
Wednesday, April 9
I woke before the morning,
I was happy all the day,
I never said an ugly word,
but smiled and stuck to play.
And now at last the sun is going down behind the wood,
And I am very happy,
for I know that I've been good.
My bed is waiting cool and fresh,
with linen smooth and fair,
And I must be off to sleepsin-by,
and not forget my prayer.
I know that, till to-morrow
I shall see the sun arise,
No ugly dream shall fright my mind,
no ugly sight my eyes.
But slumber hold me tightly till I waken in the dawn,
And hear the thrushes singing in the lilacs round the lawn.
-Robert Louis Stevenson
And your bones are very brittle;
If you would grow great and stately,
You must try to walk sedately.
You must still be bright and quiet,
And content with simple diet;
And remain, through all bewild'ring,
Innocent and honest children.
Happy hearts and happy faces,
Happy play in grassy places--
That was how in ancient ages,
Children grew to kings and sages.
But the unkind and the unruly,
And the sort who eat unduly,
They must never hope for glory--
Theirs is quite a different story!
Cruel children, crying babies,
All grow up as geese and gabies,
Hated, as their age increases,
By their nephews and their nieces.
-Robert Louis Stevenson
I wonder how many people have recited this poem to their kids? I find a lot of truth to this little children's poem. I hope you find it as amusing as I did.
Saturday, April 5
Wednesday, April 2
I have to comment on yesterday, however, because it is one of the most fun days of the year. For our family, anyway.
Each year, we try to out-do the last. So before bed the night before, we are always thinking of something really good. This year was no exception.
I think the person in our family that got it the worst this year, was Skaterboy. This is good, because he's usually the one we can never trick. Yesterday morning, I was up as usual before any kids were, and planned my attack. At about 9 a.m. I knocked on Skaterboy's door, and walked in exclaiming that he had slept until 2 p.m. That he had to get up immediately, and how could he sleep so late. Skaterboy jumped up, not even looking at his clock, exclaiming "What?", "Why did you let me sleep so late?" He was not happy. By this time, the little one's were up, trying to contain their laughter in the living room. Skaterboy sluggishly walks out of his room into the kitchen, and as he looks at the clock, we all shout April Fools. It was funny. Unfortunately for Skaterboy, he did have to get up and start his day. But we did get a good laugh. Truthseeker, kept asking me when I was going to try to fool him. I kept telling him that it won't be a trick, if you know when it's going to happen. He however was relentless most of the day, looking for tricks to be played. At 6, this was the highlight of his afternoon, and most of them had to do with Thumbody pottying on somebody's something or other. I figure, age 6 must be the year that boy's are interested in anything that is gross. These were not the best tricks to play on other family members because Thumbody has, in the past, had accidents on other people's items. I told Truthseeker, that a trick isn't nice, if it hurts another person's feelings. Although I think Thumbody was totally oblivious to the comments made about him, Truthseeker needed to know more than once that this was not nice.
Skaterboy tried to trick his dad by plastic wrapping the toilet seat. This backfired though, because his dad saw the plastic wrap, and then went in to use our bathroom instead. Skaterboy never did get us this year. I guess we should be prepared for retaliation next year as he's probably already thinking of ideas.